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5 Real Ways the World Could Just Freaking End

For all of humanity's moxie, optimism, and drive to build a better future, a lot of us spend an extraordinary amount of time imagining how we're going to snuff it en masse. This modern-day parlor game has created armies of "armchair survivalists" -- people who aren't really motivated to do anything proactive to save their own skins, but are really committed to DVRing television shows about preppers prepping. We've become pretty good at imagining what we might do in a variety of apocalyptic events -- if we weren't too lazy to live.

There are plenty of humanity-ending scenarios where there's a relative consensus for the best place to ride it out. Zombie outbreak? Shopping mall. New Ice Age? New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Kingdom of spiders? Hunting lodge by Shatner's side. Mayan apocalypse rain date? John Cusack's limo.

Here are a few still up for debate.

#5. Space Virus Pandemic

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Scientists and their sciencing never really seem to be restrained by logical paranoia. No, it's just a bunch of thoughtless enthusiasm, like "Cool! Can't wait to dick around with these Mars rocks covered in an unknown substance!" or "Oh, hey, let's drink this 2-billion-year-old water."

The fact of the matter is that some kind of horrible space virus wiping out mankind is far more plausible than our relative lack of hysteria about it implies. Hospitals are already struggling with antibiotic-resistant infections, and this is bacteria we've been around the block with for thousands of years. What hope do we have against hostile microbes that rode an asteroid from the Andromeda Galaxy during velociraptor time and have been napping in ice chunks for millennia? Particularly since brainiacs keep defrosting them in relative secret?

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
"No, I haven't seen The Thing. Why do you ask?"

Our only hope is simple -- Corey Feldman's "Feldmansion." We've covered Corey and his scrappy party palace/temple to Corey Feldman before. It seems to be very similar to Redman's crib, except multi-leveled and full of questionable women, but devoid of a useful fridge-top dollar box. And his music video for "Ascension Millennium" seems like he's got his finger on the pulse of the end of man's pulse.

Why Corey's place exactly? By all accounts, Feldmansion is hygienically unsavory. It's not a location where one expects to find hand sanitizer or where you would ever want to turn on a black light. The likelihood you'll develop immunity to all manner of illness and infection by being exposed to every bacterium and virus known and yet unknown to man within its walls is great.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
He can also teach you how to become immune to weak mortal concepts like "dignity" and "self-respect."

In fact, if children were required to spend a year boarding at Feldmansion, we might see fewer of these allergies that have cropped up since the prevalence of antibacterial soap.

#4. Auto-pocalypse

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When we consider what might be the most plausible end times tale in the vast drunk and non-drunk oeuvre of Stephen King, The Stand usually comes to mind. Well, the contamination by an escaped military pathogen and "M-O-O-N spells moon" parts, but not the sassy centenarian calling the good folks to Colorado via Nebraska for a fight against Satan's Vegas parts.

But if you think about it, the events of his short story "Trucks" may be the most likely to come to pass. For one, we know it's important because it was made into a feature film AND a TV movie (OK, true, the same goes for The Shining, but that was Torrance-family-specific). Two, we're just begging our vehicles and other mechanical devices to turn on us.

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"For 'Truck Nutz' alone, your kind deserves it."

We've crammed so much technology into what used to be basic machinery (and then abused the shit out of these things) that the possibility they'll become evilly sentient seems more of an eventuality. It's already been documented that our cars can easily be hacked. And that we're endlessly screwing with the "mental stability" of artificial intelligence because ... well, science! You put those things together and next thing you know a Green Goblin rig will be circling your truck stop diner.

When that happens, you want to hightail it to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There you have two solid groups with which to align yourself: the Amish and the woodland-dwelling drunk crazy guys with guns. None of them is going to die by getting beaned in the skull by a soda can projectile. They are far too Luddite-centric and/or weaving drunk for that.

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Plus you just know that the horse buggy has been waiting for payback against those stuck-up, motorized job thieves.

If you're a woman of childbearing age, you'll pretty much be able to waltz in and take a spot in one of their machineless fortified cabins. Everyone else better have useful skills or appendages, like meaty butter-churning arms. Those guys will carry no water for the useless.

#3. Ascension of the Righteous

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We're not here to debate religion. Hey, you believe in whatever works for you. If nothing works for you, then believe nothing at all. Cracked only wants you to be happy.

But we will note that a commonality within many faiths is the belief that someone(s) or something(s) will return to the planet and whisk up all the people who believed in the right thing. Or were really committed to a particular brand of sneakers.

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Some people have a blatant misunderstanding of corporate mottos.

But for the sake of space limitations, let's just go with fundamentalist Christianity's Rapture, which involves the good and pure being taken, body and all, into the heavens and everyone else getting ditched in a hell on Earth, like some terrible R-rated adaptation of Home Alone where 75 percent of the cast dies.

True, the Left Behind series of books and films are gushing founts of post-Rapture warning and guidance. Trouble is, those were created by people who are convinced they'll be sucked up into the sky, leaving piles of sensible clothing behind. That's like taking marriage advice from tapeworms. What do tapeworms know? They'll never get married. And, if they're right, the Left Behind people won't be the ones left behind, so why listen to them?

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Do you really want to trust the judgment of people who have cast Kirk Cameron and Nicolas Cage as their lead character?

As far as we're concerned -- and the chance we'll be left behind is great to entirely without doubt -- your best post-Rapture bet is Branson, Missouri. This family-friendly entertainment destination is extremely popular with folks who self-identify as believers. So after the ascension, you can cloak your body from evil by draping it with wholesome puppets and the still piously scented sweatshirts crumpled in piles along 76 Country Boulevard. And it'll be possible to almost never hunker down in the same theater twice. Monday, it's a cozy corner of Yakov Smirnoff Theater, and the next day, how about Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede?

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